“WHEN PEOPLE say, ‘She’s got everything’, I have one reply — I haven’t had tomorrow.’”
So said Elizabeth Taylor, who has lived her life always looking toward tomorrow.
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UPDATE ON the star of stars. She remains hospitalized at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. She is much improved, but will still probably have to spend her 79th birthday at Cedars on Oscar night, Feb 27. She’s not minding that. (What, you think there still won’t be a party? And presents? Please, we are talking about Elizabeth Taylor.)
Our Liz is very glad to be alive. I can say now that her condition was indeed “critical.” It was not a stroke or a heart attack, nor was there any “massive internal bleeding” as the most sensational stories insisted. It was a sudden combination of the many ailments that have afflicted her for years, coming together in a dire “perfect storm.”
And yet, to the utter astonishment of her doctors who were not in the least optimistic, ET fought back. Of course, she was helped along by being the rich and famous movie queen, who receives the very best medical care. But if you don’t have the fighting spirit, you are likely to go under. Miss Taylor is not ready to go under. But she herself doesn’t attribute anything unusual to her survival. “I was sick. I got better. Period.”
What a woman.
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IT’S INTERESTING that coming up on 60 (a vigorous 60, to be sure), Liam Neeson has suddenly jumped into the action genre. He had a surprise hit with “Taken,” a tale of a man searching Europe to rescue his daughter who had been kidnapped into sex-slavery. It was ridiculous, but a lot of fun. Liam was a one-man killing machine.
So now he’s back with another hit film in a similar vein, titled “Unknown.” In this one, he wakes from a coma, and all the people he thinks he knows — like his wife — insist they don’t know him at all. (The wife is played by luscious January Jones of “Mad Men” fame.) It’s not quite as much fun as “Taken,” but it’s pretty close. Perhaps it loses something because aspects of it are so derivative of other action/adventure/mystery films. (I won’t tell you which, because that might give away the “surprise ending” of “Unknown.”)
Liam’s gravitas is also a bit at odds with all the leaping and running and car chases and such. Maybe that also adds to the enjoyment. My wonderful friend, Frank Langella, is on hand to lend even more expertise, and Bruno Ganz is very enjoyable, too. Adding to the suspension of disbelief is Diane Kruger as a Berlin taxicab driver who aids our hero. Miss Kruger was not quite ravishing enough as Helen of Troy in “Troy,” but she is far too beautiful to be a hack driver. (She was, as Goldilocks would say, “just right” in the great “Inglorious Basterds.”)
I don’t fault Liam Neeson for tackling a new style of movie. He’s doing it well. But maybe next time, he could pair up with a lady such as, oh — Helen Mirren, Kim Cattrall, Angelica Huston, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sharon Stone, or Angela Bassett. All are fab actresses who are closer in age to Mr. Neeson. (Perhaps the makeup people could let up on the hair dye.)
And all of these aforementioned ladies, I believe, have experience dodging bullets and dashing decoratively hither and thither in thrillers. (Ms. Mirren impressively toted a big automatic weapon in “Red.”)
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TOMORROW ON Oprah, it will be quite a day! The Big O interviews Miss Diana Ross and all five, count ‘em, five, of her children.
Despite Diana’s reputation as a demanding diva, I’ve always liked and admired the star. I never noticed her much-criticized little ways during a time I knew her pretty well, back in the 1970’s. (Maybe she was on her best behavior, but one can only keep the veil up for so long.)
Diana got a bum rap for breaking up the Supremes and running off to have her great solo career. Could she have been “nicer” as she rose to the top under the aegis of mentor/lover Berry Gordy, the Motown mogul? Probably. But it was Diana who was the standout, who had the unique style and voice. And if Flo Ballard or Mary Wilson had been the one to catch Berry’s attentions, they’d have gone quite grand themselves. (And not wept into their champagne over Diana.)
Look, it was fated to be. Diana behaved like a star even when she was called “Diane” just as Barbra did before removing the extra A from her name, and just as Madonna did before … well, Madonna really was her name.
Diana has raised five children, none of whom to my knowledge has been in a lick of trouble, and all of them remain devoted to their mom. I have often said that this tells a lot about the real Miss Ross.
But of course, Diana’s not appearing on Oprah just for the hell of it. She’s launching a tour that will take her from Choctaw, Mississippi to Staten Island, NY. And this woman puts on one hell of an entertaining show!
It will be interesting to see how Oprah handles Diana. Ms. Winfrey herself is a woman with an impressive ego and has her own definite “standards.”